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August - September 2009
AWAKENING WITH BRAHMA KUMARIS
You will have seen them on their popular show ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris’ on Aastha TV, now Sister Jayanti, Sister Shivani and interviewer Kanupriya have taken their programme on tour across the UK for free. The show explored key issues affecting people in daily life and provided practical spiritual solutions and insights based on the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris. India Link managed to question Sister Shivani before she returned to India.
Q: What is the difference between prayer and Raja Yoga meditation?
A: I remember that since childhood, every day I would say prayers like the Gayatri Mantra. I never really paid attention to what I was saying and so the words didn’t carry any meaning in my mind. As a result, other things would come into my mind whilst I was saying the prayers. With Raja Yoga meditation, your mind is actively thinking about these great spiritual truths that are at the heart of many of our traditional prayers. Also, with prayer, it is a one-way communication with God, Bhagwan. We say what we say and then we get on with other things. The spiritual impact of the prayer can be minimal if we get into this habit. Quite often, if we are rushed for time, we will just say the prayer very quickly and then go off to do our other business. Now, imagine if someone came to you every morning and just said what they wanted to say and then rushed off without waiting to hear a response from you. How can that be a relationship? A relationship is a two-way communication. By having a relationship with God, I am able to establish a direct and personal connection with the Supreme. I can share my innermost thoughts and feelings and receive inspirations from Him that provide me with answers and help at the time of greatest need. This, for me, is the difference between prayer and meditation.
Q: Is one of the expectations of Raja Yoga meditation to not have any thoughts at all?
A: The natural process of the mind is to think, it is a normal thing. If we try and suppress that, then it will return to us with even greater force. To think ‘I must not think, I must not think’ is a thought in itself. But let’s suppose someone has achieved the ability to not have any thoughts, what will they do when they have to do some activity? It is not possible to do anything without having thoughts and so when I do come into action, I am once again faced with the battle of negative thoughts entering my mind. So I have to develop a practice that enables me to have the right thoughts and attitude when I most need it - when I am performing actions, whether that is at home, at work or with friends and family. With meditation, what I am doing is transforming the thoughts that I have into positive ones and so this becomes a very practical way of transforming the experiences in my life.
Q: Can chanting help in the thought process?
Chanting can have many benefits, but because the same thing is being repeated then over time the mind gets more and more distracted. So even if I have chanting ‘Om’ - which is a very high energy word - my mind can still be thinking ‘what do I have to do at work today?’. Unless someone is very devoted, chanting can develop into a very mechanical process that has do depth of feeling - bhavna - to it. With meditation, I am going up a further level and actually addressing the core of my being - my thinking process. Through Raja Yoga, I am also developing a creative relationship with God, which means that the experience is constantly changing, developing and so it stays new and fresh. This means my mind doesn’t get bored and so will be less distracted by other more mundane thoughts.
The ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris’ UK tour ran over 2 weeks finishing on 8 July. The tour visited: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bradford/Leeds, Glasgow, Leicester, Manchester and Nottingham. Also in the London area Croydon, Hayes/Hounslow, Ilford, Stratford, Watford, Willesden Green and Wembley held events..
For more information about all free Brahma Kumaris events please visit www.bkwsu.org/uk or for general information call: 020 8727 3350
You can view ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris’ daily on Aastha TV, channel 807 on Sky, between 8.40pm-9.10pm